The government is likely to announce the 'One Rank One Pension' (OROP) scheme for ex-servicemen before the Bihar Assembly polls later this year, top government sources indicated today.
"It (OROP) is being worked out. We will need to have a separate category so that it cannot be legally challenged later on and nor do others stake claim. This would be separate from other government pensions," the sources said.
Asked when it will be rolled out, they indicated that the scheme is likely to be announced ahead of Bihar election if all modalities are worked out.
Assembly polls in Bihar are likely in September/October this year. The ex-servicemen have decided to hold a huge rally in Bihar ahead of the Assembly elections to demand promised benefit of 'One Rank One Pension'. Groups of ex-servicemen are already on a relay hunger strike in about 20 cities across the country.
The PM had tweeted that his government is committed to the scheme that is aimed at ensuring that all retired soldiers, who have the same rank and the length of service receive the same amount of pension, irrespective of their date of retirement. Even though the government has said it is committed to implementing OROP, there has been no official word on why the scheme is getting delayed.
Defence ministry sources said the OROP file is with the Finance Ministry for a final budgetary approval.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.